NASA Artemis Moon Missions: launch dates & details

There are 4 fundamental parts of the Artemis Moon missions. These embrace: 

Orion spacecraft

NASA infographic showing Orion module used in Artemis missions

Orion’s crew, command and repair modules | Supply: NASA (June 2022)

Geared up with life help techniques and shuttle interfaces, Orion is the command module wanted to move the astronauts via house.

Lunar Gateway

The Lunar Gateway is a small house station orbiting the Moon, designed to be a versatile platform for missions to the Moon and past.

The Orion module will dock with Gateway, and from right here the astronauts will switch into the lunar touchdown module.

In contrast to the Worldwide House Station (ISS), the Lunar Gateway will not be completely occupied, however will function a platform the place astronauts can reside and undertake analysis for brief intervals. It can additionally be capable of proceed scientific analysis even between human lunar missions.

Worldwide companions such because the European House Company are working with NASA on the design for the Lunar Gateway.

Moon Touchdown Module

The lunar touchdown automobiles will take cargo and people from the Lunar Gateway to the Moon’s floor. NASA is working alongside industrial firms to develop each a human touchdown system (referred to as HLS) and a collection of different automobiles for robotics and cargo.

The place Apollo’s Lunar Module was designed for use for one return journey to the Moon’s floor, the touchdown techniques for the Artemis missions are set for use for a number of missions.

House Launch System (SLS)

Tying collectively all these components is the launcher that can carry them past Earth’s environment and into house. This tremendous heavy-lift rocket is taller than the Statue of Liberty at 322ft and is estimated to value $800 million per launch. When full, the SLS would be the strongest rocket on this planet, extra highly effective than the unique Saturn V launcher that first took astronauts to the Moon.

The launcher has been in growth at NASA for a lot of the final decade, enduring a number of delays and rising prices. In March 2022, the rocket and spacecraft for Artemis I used to be moved to the launchpad at Kennedy House Middle.

Will going to the Moon assist people land on Mars?

Whereas the journey to the Moon takes three days, reaching Mars is a far lengthier and extra sophisticated aim. NASA sees Artemis as laying the inspiration for each worldwide house businesses and personal firms to construct a lunar settlement and economic system, and from there ultimately ship people to Mars.

NASA Artemis mission timeline

Artemis 1

Previously known as Exploration Mission-1, this uncrewed mission is an in depth check of the House Launch System (SLS) and the Orion module.

The SLS will take off from the Kennedy House Centre in Florida, and as soon as in house the Orion module will detach and journey to the Moon. Its orbit will take it 100 kilometres above the lunar floor earlier than it continues roughly 64,373 kilometres past the Moon. After an estimated mission size of 42 days, the module will splash down within the Pacific Ocean close to California.

On board will probably be a spread of science and know-how experiments that can happen in deep house. These are designed to broaden lunar information, make additional technological developments, and make clear deep house radiation. 

NASA Artemis 1 infographic showing Artemis 1's journey

Artemis I projected flightpath | Supply: NASA (June 2022)

Additionally on board will probably be a ‘moonikin’ named Campos, a model sporting the First-Technology Orion Crew Survival System spacesuit, which the actual astronauts will put on on Artemis 2 and three. Sensors will probably be positioned throughout Campos to offer information on what human crew members could expertise in flight.

Workers manoeuvring a mannequin dressed in a space suit, which will fly on Artemis I

Artemis 1 ‘moonikin’ Campos being inspected | Credit score: NASA

Artemis 2

This will probably be a pioneering crewed spaceflight for the Artemis programme, taking people additional than they’ve ever been in house.

After being launched into house by the SLS rocket, the four-person crew will fly the Orion module 7402 km past the far facet of the Moon, full a lunar flyby and return to Earth. The mission will take between eight to 10 days and accumulate precious flight check information.

NASA Artemis 2 infographic showing journey of Artemis 2 crew past the moon and into deep space

Artemis II projected flightpath | Supply: NASA (October 2021)

Artemis 3

The third mission to the Moon is ready to be the primary Moon touchdown since Apollo 17 in 1972.

Constructing on the Artemis 2 mission, 4 astronauts aboard the Orion module will dock with the Lunar Gateway and stay in house for 30 days. The human touchdown system will then take two astronauts all the way down to the Moon’s South Pole, a area beforehand unvisited by people.

The astronauts are anticipated to spend per week exploring the floor and carry out quite a lot of scientific research, together with sampling water ice – first detected on the Moon in 1971.

Artemis 3 Mission infographic showing planned route of Artemis 3 by NASA

Artemis III projected flightpath | Supply: NASA 

Artemis 4, 5, 6 and extra?

NASA are primarily focusing their attentions on Artemis missions 1 to three, however are additionally looking forward to future tasks and have already awarded contracts for boosters on rockets as much as Artemis 13

If missions 1-3 show profitable, NASA has ambitions for additional crewed missions on an annual foundation. One expectation is for future astronauts to start establishing a base on the floor of the Moon, with a view to ultimately utilizing the satellite tv for pc as a staging publish on the journey to Mars.

Artemis 4 is already in manufacturing, with NASA publicising the casting and meeting of its stable rocket booster in January 2022.

In the meantime, Airbus reported in June 2022 that they’d acquired the construction of the module that can allow astronauts to reside in orbit across the moon, in preparation for the fourth Artemis mission.

Who will probably be a part of the Artemis crew?

In 2020 NASA launched a recruitment drive for brand new astronauts who will probably be tasked with taking people to the Moon, Mars and past.

Every candidate needed to be a US citizen and have at the least a Grasp’s diploma in a STEM area (science, know-how, engineering or maths). The deadline for the subsequent consumption closed on 31 March 2020, and the brand new ‘Artemis Staff’ was revealed in December 2020.

Nevertheless, NASA introduced in August 2022 that their whole astronaut corps of 42 astronauts, and never simply the 18 chosen ‘Artemis Staff’, could be eligible to fly.

Artemis 2’s crew are anticipated to be chosen quickly.  

Though Artemis 1 will probably be uncrewed, it is going to carry two very particular passengers in Shaun the Sheep and Snoopy, who will probably be travelling additional than any human has earlier than!  

You could find out extra in regards to the authentic utility course of and NASA’s astronaut necessities right here.

(Primary picture and graphics courtesy of NASA)

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